The Feb./March issue of RFTN lists the number of derbies (other stakes as well) run, the starters and the average per stake.
In 2006 avg. was 20.2 in 05, it was 22.2, 04, 22.4, 03 21.8, 02 31.2 (number of trials was lowest in 02) in 01 it 22.7.
In general it seems that for about the last ten years or so they have been in the low twenties.
In the west here we see somewhere around 18-28 dogs depending on where the trial is and if there are other competing trials that weekend.
This is my first Derby dog and I have had an absolute ball. I have met wonderful folks from all over. Judges that donate their time and certainly try their very best. On a few occaisions I have not agreed with the set ups-like running into the wind or a cross wind coming accross the short bird on a two down the shore. But my guess is the wind shifted or something happened. I have always felt that the judges have done their best to put on a good Derby.
It also interesting to note that many folks say the Derby doesn't matter. Or it matters only when you are running it, or who cares. There are many variations on the "it is a nothing stake theme". However for some of us it is our introduction into FT and although maybe down the road it won't matter. I still get a thrill watching these young dogs do some abolsolutely incredible stuff. I have found this to be pretty sophisticated. Some of the 4th series are very tough, or at least I think they are.
I think the Derby is fun and I plan on enjoying myself and applauding these wonderful young animals and I hope when and if I ever have the good fortune to to attain that FC or AFC I remember how much fun it was to run the Derby and I remember NOT to tell someone with a Derby dog how insignificant it is and how much it DOESN't matter, even if in the grand scheme of things it doesn't.
I know making the National Derby list is nothing (I think I have heard that at least 90 times), but to some of us it is our first time and personally I was thrilled and that first or second or third blue ribbon, heck I think that is pretty neat too.
Isn't this supposed to be fun!!!!!!!
Nancy with her first Derby dog Lily